North Carolina Republicans used the fact that Democrats were remembering the 9/11 terror attacks to launch a surprise vote.
While some Democrats were attending a 9/11 memorial ceremony Wednesday morning, North Carolina Republicans announced a surprise vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto, Shareblue Media has confirmed.
A Democratic official confirmed a report that some Democrats were not present at the House session because they were at a memorial service. Cooper was also at a memorial service at the time of the vote.
Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.
Republicans used their decision to remember this solemn day to ram through a veto override the GOP had been unable to accomplish for months, according to the Associated Press. In a half-empty chamber, Republicans successfully overrode the veto by a 55-9 vote. A veto override in North Carolina requires the approval of two-thirds of members present.
"It's no longer a surprise when North Carolina Republicans disrespect the rule of law — but disrespecting 9/11 victims and their families is a contemptible new low for this moral-less majority," Matt Harringer, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee press secretary, said in a statement. "Thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11 simply because they lived in a free democracy — and on the anniversary of their death, North Carolina Republicans again abused our democratic process for their own selfish partisan purposes."
Cooper vetoed the budget in part because it lacked funding to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians.
"This is a tragedy. This is a travesty of the process and you know it," Democratic state Rep. Deb Butler shouted at the Republican speaker moments before the vote began, according to the AP. "Is this the legacy you want? Are you proud of this? Are you proud of yourselves? Look at you. There's no one here, because we have been deceived."
Democrats said they were told by Republican leadership that there would be no votes on Wednesday morning.
"The unseemly lack of leadership is incredible, absolutely cowardness, childishness," Butler added.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson told WFAE that Wednesday's session was supposed to be a "skeletal session" where no legislative votes were to occur.
"When someone in leadership says it's going to be a skeleton session, that rule is respected," Jackson told WFAE. "They don't then turn that into an ambush on the most important vote of the entire session. This is a historic act of deception, frankly."
The budget veto will now move to the state Senate, where Republicans will need to convince at least one Democrat to join them if they wish to be successful.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.